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Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; eli@elikantorlaw.com. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com


Friday, January 03, 2020

Mexican migrants protest in Tijuana

By Wendy Fry
December 30, 2019 / The San Diego Union-Tribune 

A group of mostly Mexican migrants demonstrated Monday at the Tijuana offices of the National Commission of Human Rights, asking for more resources for those fleeing cartel violence across the country.
They also asked Mexico to stop the U.S. from possibly deporting Mexican asylum-seekers to Guatemala.
It was the second time in recent weeks Mexican migrants have protested in Tijuana, while government officials tout their success at stemming the flow of Central Americans to the U.S.-Mexico border. The effort was prompted by pressure from the Trump administration.
Last week, migrants protested what they said were human rights abuses by Tijuana police officers.
One of Mexico’s strategies in stemming northbound migration has been to keep Central Americans in Mexico by opening shelters along the border and offering them work.
Those resources have left out Mexicans, some of whom are fleeing home for many of the same reasons as Central Americans, according to some of the approximately 70 protesters on Monday.
Pastor Albert Rivera who runs the Agape Mision Mundial shelter said the government is wasting about $20,000 a month to run the federal shelter for Central Americans that opened earlier this month.
“It was a political deal with Trump to open the shelter in Baja California and they only have about 20 people staying there,” said Rivera. “Then, in all the other shelters, we have all these other people left without resources.”
Federal delegate Jesús Alejandro Ruiz Uribe, who works as a liaison between Mexico’s president and the local government in Baja California, said there are currently 31 migrants staying in the “Carmen Serdán” Migrant Integration Center, but the numbers fluctuate each day.
“It’s the best use of money we can imagine because it is part of a deal with the United States that helps keep our economy strong in Baja California. We have to be as pragmatic about this as we can be,” said Ruiz, referring to Trump’s threat to impose punishing tariffs on Mexico if the country did not stop Central Americans from crossing its northern border.
Monday, the protesters asked Mexico’s president to intervene in a tentative Trump administration plan to send Mexican asylum-seekers to Guatemala. Senior U.S. security officials confirmed Mexicans seeking U.S. asylum might be sent to Central America in an effort to further decrease border crossings.
Numbers of Central American migrants apprehended at the U.S. border fell sharply in the second part of fiscal year 2019, after Trump’s tariff threats, while the number of Mexican asylum seekers arriving at the southwestern border has been steadily rising in recent months.
Mexican nationals now account for more than half of the approximately 21,000 people on asylum waiting lists in Mexican border towns, including Tijuana.
As part of the new crackdown on Mexican border-crossers, Acting Deputy U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said a “safe-third country” agreement that lets U.S. immigration officials send asylum seekers to Guatemala to request refuge there could also apply to Mexicans and other nationalities.
“As we fully implement the agreement, all populations are being considered, including Mexican nationals,” Cuccinelli said.
Luis de Jesus Carreño Díaz from Puebla said Monday that plan is ridiculous.
“We came here to complain because they want to send us to Guatemala. We, Mexicans, are asking for political asylum and the truth is that’s not a safe country,” said Carreño.
Carreño said he’s been in contact with five people who are in detention in the Otay Mesa Detention Center who said they’re being told they’ll be sent to Guatemala after Jan. 1. It’s caused Carreño, his brother, and his grandmother to rethink crossing the line, he said.
“So now they want to send us to a worse place? We have no family there. There is no work. There are no shelters. What are we going to do? Turn to crime to eat? I don’t think so,” he said.
A spokeswoman for Immigration Customs and Enforcement did not confirm nor deny that a departure to Guatemala was scheduled for Mexican migrants from the Otay Mesa Detention Center.
“We do not disclose departure details prior to removal ... " said Paige D. Hughes, an ICE spokeswoman.
In a letter to Mexico’s president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a pair of teenage sisters from Guerrero asked him to intervene so their family could seek U.S. asylum without fear of being sent to Guatemala.
“My request is that my family cannot be in that country ... " their letter stated.
The girls said their father, a taxi driver in Chilpancingo, was robbed and beaten twice. Then, criminals showed up at their door and shot him seven times all over his body, according to their letter. Even when their father was “on the ground they were still shooting. We were in the living room with my mother and my three younger brothers.”
The girls’ letter described how they still wake up screaming “No, dad!” and how the family startles at the sound of any passing car or motorcycle.
Monday’s demonstration was the second time Mexican migrants have protested in Tijuana in recent weeks. Last Monday, on Dec. 23, a group of about 30 migrants, mostly from Mexico, marched to Tijuana’s City Hall demanding better treatment by police in the city’s Zona Norte.

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